Allen, TX (Feb. 14th) - Danick Gauthier scored with 56 seconds left in overtime to help Wichita (23-18-2-4) win on the road at Allen (33-8-3-2) on Saturday night by the final score of 5-4 at the Allen Event Center. The game went back-and-forth before the Thunder claimed their second overtime victory at the AEC this season and are 4-5-0-0 in the season-series against the Americans. The two teams play once again tomorrow afternoon and finish up a three-game string next Wednesday in Texas.
Justin Bernhardt had three goals while Gauthier collected three points to pace the Thunder offense. Tim Boron earned his second-straight win and his 17th of the season.
Bernhardt continued to stay hot as he got the Thunder on the board just 34 seconds into the game. Gauthier fired a shot off of Riley Gill and the long rebound came to the right circle where Bernhardt pounced on it for his third goal of the season. The Americans answered two minutes later as Brett Lyon redirected a pass at the front of the crease from Garrett Clarke and pulled even at one. At 16:03, Erick Lizon recorded his seventh of the season to give the Thunder a 2-1 advantage. He caught a long outlet pass and fired a shot past Gill from the right hash as the defender was gaining ground on the back-check.
Allen found the back of the net twice in the second and took a 3-2 lead into the locker room. At 3:56, Trevor Ludwig fired a slap shot from the top of the left circle through traffic and beat Boron to pull even at two. Greger Hanson, who was a member of the 2011-12 Thunder squad, tallied his 15th of the season to push the Americans ahead by one and their first lead of the game.
In the third, Bernhardt added his second of the night at 3:19 when RG Flath stripped the puck from Gill at the side of the net, poked it to the crease and Bernhard tipped it in. The Americans re-gained the lead two minutes later when Anthony Perdicaro lost it at the side of the net and Follmer came across the paint to beat Boron. 28 seconds later, Bernhardt tied it with a wrist shot from the right face-off dot with the assists going to Gauthier and Flath. Neither team found the net the rest of the way and the game headed into extra time.
Wichita dominated the overtime session, hemming the Americans in for minutes at a time. The Thunder were only credited with three shots on net, but got the game-winner on the power play. Chad Costello was called for a trip as he took down Mike Wilson at 2:52. With time winding down, Wilson fed a pass across from the left point to the right face-off dot and Gauthier buried it past Gill for the victory.
Both of Allen's overtime losses have come at the hands of Wichita. Bernhardt has five goals in two games and collected his first hat trick of his pro career. In his first game back since being reassigned to Wichita, Gauthier finished with a goal and two helpers for his second three-point outing of the season. He also earned his seventh power play tally of the year and third game-winner of the season. Flath added two assists and was a +3. Lizon scored his seventh of the season, tying his career-high that he set back in 2008-09 with the Laredo Bucks of the CHL. Boron took the victory, stopping 29 of 33 shots. Gill suffers the overtime loss, giving up five goals on 30 shots.
Wichita went 1-for-4 on the power play. Allen was 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Wichita closes the weekend at home tomorrow afternoon against the Allen Americas at 5:05 p.m.
Individual tickets are on sale now. Don't delay! Tickets can be purchased at the INTRUST Arena Box office, by calling 755-SEAT or go online at www.selectaseat.com. Stay up-to-date on all the news during the season by visiting www.wichitathunder.com.
About the ECHL
The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 20 states and one Canadian province for its 27th season in 2014-15. There have been 541 players who have started their career in the ECHL have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 29 who made their NHL debuts in the 2013-14 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 26 of the 30 NHL teams in 2013-14, marking the 17th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.